Greece tops tanker league table

China in second spot.


The top five owner countries in the crude and products tanker sectors have dominated tanker shipping throughout the last decade, accounting for 50 per cent of the fleet at the start of 2014.

However, within this select group there has been a number of interesting trends.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the historical pre-eminence of Greek owners, the Greek owned tanker fleet is largest of all owner nationalities. The fleet owned by Greek companies totalled 116.5m dwt at the start of 2014, having grown at a CAGR of 6.7 per cent since 2005, and representing nearly 25 per cent of the global fleet, up from 21 per cent in 2005.

This growth has come both from newbuilding activity and forays into the secondhand market. Around 50 per cent of the growth in Greek-owned tonnage since 2005 can be attributed to VLCC acquisition, with Greek owners purchasing a net 10.6m dwt of VLCCs and taking delivery of 16.1m dwt of VLCCs over the last nine years.

Much the same as their Greek counterparts, Chinese shipowners have expanded their tanker fleet rapidly between 2005 and 2014, at a CAGR of 13.2 per cent to reach 34.7m dwt at the start of 2014, cementing China’s place as the third largest tanker owning country, ahead of Norway, which was relegated to fourth place in 2011. This growth is partly a result of China’s stated aim to secure an increasing share of the transportation of the growing volumes of crude imports.

Chinese owners have tended to take advantage of relatively competitive prices at domestic yards and have taken delivery of 15.5m dwt of VLCCs since 2005, accounting for 66 per cent of growth in the Chinese-owned tanker fleet.

Across the water, the Japanese owned tanker fleet has long been the second largest, standing at 41.3m dwt at the start of 2014. However, it has declined by 5.1m dwt compared to start 2011, largely as a result of Japanese owners selling tonnage, with an average of 1.7m dwt net sales per annum in 2012 and 2013, whilst scrapping averaged 0.6m dwt during the same period. A large proportion of the tonnage sold by the Japanese has been bought by Greek owners.

When it comes to the orderbook, Greek and Chinese owners grab the headlines with their large orderbooks at 10 per cent and 26 per cent of their fleets respectively. By adding the orderbook to today’s fleet it would appear that the Chinese owned fleet will usurp the Japanese in the future.

Norwegian owners may also be knocked out of the top five, with Singaporean owners taking fifth spot, as the Singaporean orderbook now stands at 9.7m dwt (49 per cent of the fleet).
So, it looks likely that the top five owner countries may be in for something of a reshuffle. Chinese owners seem set to take second place, whilst Singaporean owners may sneak in to the top five. However, Greek owners, with their vast array of tanker tonnage, look safe at the top of the tanker league table.

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